It was the turning into her fifth year, when Anushka would enter the next epoch of her childhood, the first learning years. Being a child whose family was of modest wealth, there were a few minor enchantments that were gifted to her. One was a book that could summon any one of a hundred different fairy tales within its pages with a simple chant. Another was a pair of boots that could lace themselves. And still another was a mysterious card placed within a vivid green envelope embossed with the golden letters of the giver’s initials.
Upon her inheritance of a great fortune from a distant uncle who had favored her when she was but a toddler, the woman, named Gilda, had immediately adopted a lavish style of living. Thereafter, she and her husband and their two children abided first in comfort and then in opulence. When one of her less fortunate cousins came asking to share in a small portion of the riches, Gilda agreed, but only if he earned the portion, by being in her employ. He became her carriage driver. And he was driving her home one day to her countryside manor, when a sudden obstruction appeared, and he drew back the reins to halt the carriage.
The isle of the giants? Oh, no…no, my friends, I wouldn’t ever try to return there. Once was enough.
I do miss my cousin though. I’m certain he misses me too. But I haven’t seen him since I left the isle, many, many years ago.
“Why does there have to be winter?”
The asker was my little niece, all bundled up in black-and-silver fleece blankets. Her favorite colors. She didn’t ask the question just out of curiosity. She was frowning slightly. Winter had swallowed up her favorite season, autumn. (The season to which her only objection was, “why does there have to be so much orange?”).
I smiled. “Do you want the scientific explanation or the non-scientific explanation?”